Today is Thankful Friday and a Google search proves I am not alone in celebrating Friday in this way. Pages and pages of results came up from bloggers left, right and centre proclaiming Thankful Friday – so many in fact, that I didn't show up until page 2!
Today I am thankful for Sample-Sale-Pal – I work with her and last night, at a company awards ceremony, she was my translator! A comedian called Michael McIntyre was our host for the evening and he spoke faster than the speed of light and moved around even faster than that. I didn't have a hope in hell of hearing what he said. So, whenever anything was really funny, Sample-Sale-Pal would fill me in.
It's a bit frustrating missing out on things like this – comedians are hard to subtitle so even if I had stuck my neck out and shouted for more formal support at last night's awards, I am not sure there was anything they could have done to make it easier for me.
Plus, I think I am actually the only deaf person in my company... and that makes shouting for help at big events seem a bit weird. It’s kind of like saying, ‘Please do this for only me, even though it might inconvenience everyone else.’ And, that’s just not something I am good at doing at the moment.
When I was much younger and not quite as well acquainted with my deafness, I used to wish that I could be one of those people who went to the theatre, stayed awake for the whole play and came out knowing what they'd seen. I didn't put two and two together and realise that the reason I fell asleep was because I couldn't hear anything and that Shakespeare made no sense to me not because I didn’t get the language but, again because I couldn't hear anything – I just thought I was doomed to be uncultured forever.
But the problem is, I sometimes feel that being deaf does make me uncultured... I'd love to go to lectures at The National Gallery on Gainsborough and why so many of his paintings are unfinished, and see the latest plays and movies when I want to – not when an accessible version is aired once a year at their convenience and my inconvenience.
Sure I can read, which is why my bookshelf is groaning under the weight of a ton of reference books – right now I am reading unknown facts about England and it’s fascinating. God I am a geek…
But I guess, since I went deaf, I’ve always had to teach myself rather than glean info from other sources – I did it during my degree and even my A-levels – might explain some of my questionable grades and why I never contemplated being a teacher!
Hopefully one day in the future, Thankful Friday will be all about how fabulous it is that all movies are always subtitled, all plays have optional subtitles and all lectures come with transcripts or voice-activated subtitles. I know the technology is there – just got to convince people to use it now.